A year ago, students probably never would have imagined that they’d have to choose between the safety of themselves and their families and going to school. But during this pandemic, “normal” activities have changed drastically. At the beginning of this school year, students were given the option to attend in-person classes or take them online. Not only is online learning much less risky for their health, it also gives them other advantages like a more flexible and manageable schedule and relieves some of the daily stresses that go along with in-person school.
The most obvious benefit of online learning is protection from the coronavirus. Plant is a large school with over 2,500 students. Walking through the hallways in a typical week, it’s impossible to social distance. In classrooms, the number of students doesn’t even allow for following CDC guidelines.
Getting the virus is a risk that goes together with going back to school. Spread is unavoidable with that many people in one location. Participating in e-learning allows students to attend school from the safety of their homes. This option is good for people who are at higher risk of falling ill from COVID-19, those with older family members, or anyone who is very worried about getting it.
Plant has already had two faculty coronavirus cases over the summer, and one new case last week according to a phone call sent out to parents and families. Student and teacher safety should be a top priority during the pandemic – and having a plethora of people in one place isn’t safe right now. If more cases continue to pop up, the administration should look at switching to having more students do online school, or maybe have different students come in on different days of the week.
Another benefit of online learning is a more manageable and stress-free schedule. Students that chose to go back in-person must worry about waking up in time to get ready, driving to school and heading to class on time. But with online, they just have to wake up and log onto their computers by the start time.
With online classes, if I finish my work for one class before the period ends, I can get started on my next class’s work early and end up finishing everything before school is out. This is yet another luxury I didn’t have any other year.
This has allowed me to use more of my time prioritizing other activities after school and has allowed me to work on things like college applications.
Going to school involves so many stress factors like picking out outfits to wear, making sure you get to all your classes on time, and carrying heavy backpacks around all day. All of these are eliminated with e-learning. Oversleep by a couple minutes? Just wear your pajamas to class.
You don’t have to worry about getting from one side of campus to the other in just four minutes – through one-way hallways now. All of an e-learner’s classes are conveniently located within their laptop, so they can complete school from basically any location, and backpacks aren’t necessary as a result.
The downside of e-learning is a lack of social interaction with students and teachers. Luckily, teachers have incorporated Zoom and other video calling methods into their curriculum so that students can still get one-on-one help and have discussions with their classes.
E-learning obviously isn’t a permanent alternative to traditional school, but for the time-being, it is the safest option.